Authors
Marshall Abrams
University of Alabama, Birmingham
Abstract
and was correct to conclude that the way a biological population is described should affect conclusions about whether natural selection occurs, but wrong to conclude that natural selection is therefore not a cause. After providing a new argument that ignored crucial biological details, I give a biological illustration that motivates a fairly extreme dependence on description. I argue that contrary to an implication of , biologists allow much flexibility in describing populations, as contemporary research on recent human evolution shows. Properly understood, such description-dependence is consistent with descriptions capturing different causal relations involving the same population. I thus show that Walsh’s arguments fail for reasons that have not previously been understood; I argue that Walsh’s more recent “Sure Thing” argument fails for similar reasons. The resulting view provides a new perspective on causation in evolutionary processes
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2013.06.005
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References found in this work BETA

Laws of Nature.Fred I. Dretske - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (2):248-268.
Causal Relations.Donald Davidson - 1967 - Journal of Philosophy 64 (21):691-703.
Natural Selection as a Population-Level Causal Process.Roberta L. Millstein - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (4):627-653.

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Citations of this work BETA

Four Pillars of Statisticalism.Denis M. Walsh, André Ariew & Mohan Matthen - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (1):1-18.
A Critical Review of the Statisticalist Debate.Jun Otsuka - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (4):459-482.
Descriptions and Models: Some Responses to Abrams.Denis M. Walsh - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):302-308.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

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